“Oh, I’m sorry, did I break your concentration?” – Jules, Pulp Fiction
That was the intended reaction to the headline of this article. As sure as the sky is blue on a good day, there will certainty be WWE fanboys having a helluva time bringing this article down. However, there simply cannot be a dispute when it comes to the entertainment value provided by each promotion. TNA has been exciting, engaging and fresh. WWE has been lackluster, slow paced and outright boring recently. It looks like the big monster can take a page from the new species of wrestling finally making the right kind of waves.
The past several weeks of WWE Raw and/ or WWE SmackDown television can be reviewed as such:
1) Recap of last week’s show.
2) Alberto Del Rio comes out and tries his best to get the fans behind him.
3) Kane and Daniel Bryan bicker.
4) The Shield have a great match only to either win cleanly or lose by interference.
5) Kane and Daniel Bryan bicker.
6) Sheamus becomes even more TV-Y7, not TV-PG.
7) Randy Orton has a match that, sadly, management and the fans won’t remember.
8) AJ runs around and makes constipated faces (and is getting annoying, quite frankly)
9) Kane and Daniel Bryan bicker.
10) John Cena and/or Ryback say or do some sort of ridiculousness.
Pretty much sums up WWE from recent weeks, yes? The problem with the WWE is they’ve been stuck rehashing and creating new rehashes. Characters are the same and are doing the same things for long periods of time. With the exception of some sparks of excitement here and there, it would appear that the WWE has become somewhat stagnant. They do not see TNA, or any brand for that matter, as a competitor and that is a very dangerous view to take. It wasn’t so much that the WWE adopted an “Attitude” in the later 90′s, but more so that they acknowledged competition at the time in WCW. If the WWE does not acknowledge competition now, how can they inspire themselves to become the creative and entertaining juggernaut that they should be and not what they portray themselves to be?
TNA Wrestling has done the right thing in acknowledging, many times through interviews and business decisions, that there is a competition in professional wrestling. Being the underdog promotion, this inspires and creates a desire to show the world that there is more in professional wrestling than the WWE mentality of what wrestling is.
What has TNA Wrestling accomplished since the beginning of the year?
1) Impact Wrestling has been taken on the road, creating a new live crowd and home viewer experience.
2) The pay-per-view schedule as been greatly altered for the betterment of the product and in building importance for a pay-per-view itself (i.e. the amazing Slammiversary 2013)
3) Multiple storyline swerves and proper build.
4) Wrestling matches and segments with meaning and that are taken seriously.
5) Recent returns that the TNA faithful can stick with and engage further in the product.
Jeff Hardy has returned and is arguably the most popular TNA talent on the roster. Abyss has returned, a face recognized by all TNA fans. AJ Styles has developed a new presence that showcases a new side to The Phenomenal One; placing him in multiple storylines with various talents and skill sets. The Aces & 8′s are evolving, albeit slowly. The Knockouts are portrayed as more than just eye candy, but real wrestlers with real stories to tell.
One of the more annoying aspects of TNA Wrestling is the disappearance of talent followed by a sudden return with no explanation as to why they were gone or what stopped the story they were involved in. On the other side, this also can be a good thing as it keeps the product fresh and faces are thrown in unexpectedly to enhance a given story. When the tag division was beginning to be a bit questionable, Gunner returns. As the X-Division begins to grow again, Suicide returns and Chris Sabin becomes X-Division champion. When it looked like the Knockouts division was starting to slip under the radar, Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim have the best match of Slammiversary 2013 and one of the best matches of 2013 so far, if not the best.
The point being made on TNA’s side is there is always a new face or element involved. This is progression and not forcing a story or character down our throats for weeks, months or even years in the case of WWE.
Both promotions are guilty of under-utilizing talent at times, but TNA is the clear winner in talent and potential between the rosters. Though WWE may have better sports entertainers, TNA has better wrestlers with the sports entertainment skills required to entertain. Being the most important aspect of the show, the majority of TNA talent put their heart in every match and segment. They understand that they are building a brand, marketing themselves and showing the casual wrestling fan (and hardcore wrestling fan) that televised wrestling is changing and the WWE mentality cannot be the best representation of what professional wrestling is.
TNA is better than WWE because in 2013, as their old tagline says, wrestling matters. They are focused on Impact Wrestling and showing the world what a unique roster there is under the TNA umbrella. WWE is focused on expanding and showing the mainstream media that they are more than wrestling. They are cereal endorsements, movie deals, reality TV enthusiasts, etc. This is fine and all companies should aspire to expanding; however, they mustn’t forget what has brought them to the dance in the first place. WWE has become too comfortable in its place on the mountain top castle. The destiny of TNA wrestling is to climb that mountain, knock on the castle door and proclaim: “We’re here”.
Follow me on Twitter: @RealRicSantos #RicRules